Ricky Anders is the personification of “average”. He’s your typical 23-year-old overly-ambitious American male who just finished college with a degree in pottery. Since birth he’s always managed to maintain an average lifestyle: Average height and weight, average grades, average daily calorie intake, average hair length. Ricky was as average as taking the mean of a set of ten numbers that are all the same.
Perhaps one of Ricky’s only somewhat unusual traits was his ability to come up with somewhat unusual ideas for having fun. Ricky’s idea of fun has never simply been drinking a few beers at a party with his friends. Instead, Ricky has always been a thrill seeker and stops at no end to get his adrenaline pumping.
It’s was your average day in May – just the way Ricky liked it. The sky was clear, the air was warm and free of humidity and there was a slight breeze from his back which made a large grin appear on his face. The wind gave him reassurance that he was sure to make it into the Florida record books with his next jump. He was as ready as he was ever going to be for the jump of his life, and the jump of his life was as ready as it was ever going to be for him.
Ricky gave the signal to his friend in his work van to slowly accelerate towards the ramp at the end of Grant Street. As he did the nylon rope he was holding in one hand began to grow tighter as it bore the entire weight of his somewhat muscular 145-pound body. As Ricky and his BMX stunt bike began to pick up speed, Ricky noticed that the bike’s front assembly was wobbling because it was not meant for such fast speeds. Though not sure of exactly how fast he was traveling, Ricky thought that he at least hit 40mph right before hitting the ramp. As he got closer to the ramp Ricky began to have second thoughts about the jump, but realized that to abort the jump now would mean total disaster; The brakes on the BMX weren’t made to stop it from going 40mph, not to mention nearly all of his friends were looking on waiting to see him make the jump or bite the dust.
3, 2, 1… Ricky hits the jump and as he’s looking down he sees a blue chalk line and two Xs about 5 feet from where the jump was positioned. He and his two friends calculated that at that exact distance from the building he would make it with a foot to spare. But if he remembered correctly, the ramp was supposed to be on the marks, not after them. It was too late. Just as Ricky looked up to see where he was in relation to the building, the building was already in between his front and rear wheel and the next thing he knew he was looking up into the clear blue sky from a row a bushes.
The above anecdote plays out over and over again on almost what seems to be a daily basis now that services such as YouTube and Google Video (Which happen to be nearly the same thing) allow people to share videos of them doing things that they think are amazing but turn out to be complete failures. Before the advent of YouTube and Google Video, only the dumbest of the dumb ever became famous because in order for their videos to get out to the general public they relied on major news outlets to broadcast them.
There must be some significant driving force behind these people that motivates them into attempting such unrealistic stunts that not even Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris could perform even on their best days. It’s apparent that there’s something more than just fame driving these people after they bite the curb and then get back up and go for it again. We’ve set out to uncover some of the reasons why people attempt crazy and stupid stunts and post their results – successful or unsuccessful - on the internet.
The Adrenaline Rush:
Epinephrine, or “adrenaline” as it’s commonly known throughout the non-medical world, is a hormone that is quickly released in the body during periods of stress. This stress may be a result from threatening environmental factors such as like being 100 feet in the air and knowing you’re not going to land safely, as well as increased levels of excitement and anxiety – Such as the anxiety of knowing you’re not going to land safely.
Adrenaline has almost identical effects on the body as some drugs that are available from pharmacies and street pharmacies around the world. Such effects include an increased heart rate and stroke volume, dilated pupils, and arterioles become constricted both in the skin and the gut. Not to mention adrenaline serves as a great way to break down lipids in the body, so those of you who have trouble losing weight may want to think about jumping off of buildings in an effort to slim down for the summer.
For most stuntmen, doing bat shit insane stunts is like a heroine addict doing as much heroine as they can possibly get their hands on within a 24 hour period. Sure, they may overdose and die in the process, but it’s the rush that they get while doing it that they enjoy the most.
Many describe the rush that they get immediately before a stunt to be almost euphoric in nature – a natural high that the police and DEA can’t bust you for. Perhaps it’s this natural euphoric rush - which also happens to be legal unlike the million other drugs they probably take leading up to the initial thought of jumping the Grand Canyon on a tricycle – that is the main driving force behind such stunts.
The most common response heard when asked “why” is “it’s the rush I get”. Our research shows that this is the most common reason why people do such stupid things while on camera. The fact that it was caught on camera is nothing more than coincidence. Furthermore, the fact that it’s now posted on YouTube or Google Video allows the entire world to laugh at other people’s sheer acts of stupidity.
We weren’t totally satisfied with this one reason as to why there are over a million stupid videos out there that depict people doing stunts that even God himself could not perform so we kept looking for the perfect reason which might explain it all.
Fame and Possibly Fortune:
We went on to discover that some dream about becoming rich and famous after successfully completing a record setting stunt, or a stunt that is so unique that no one has thought about performing it yet. One young man mentioned that the stunt of all stunts to perform would be to somehow fabricate a bike that would be able to travel fast enough to enable the rider to jump over the Atlantic Ocean and land safely on the other side. He added that if someone could achieve such an accomplishment, they would surely win the Nobel Peace Prize. He failed to realize that there is such a bike that can do just that, but it’s no longer called a bike when it travels nearly 500 miles an hour and altitudes of 20,000 feet – it’s called a plane.
Every stuntman can only dream about being as popular as the late Evil Knievel once was. We all know that Knievel was very popular with the ladies and had a plethora of money to go around which enabled him to buy a nice double-wide mobile living unit, a nice car, and most importantly, a new set of hips and various other body parts that he broke over the years while attempting to get into the record books.
Take Gary Brolsma – “the numa numa guy” - for example. Though he didn’t exactly perform a stunt in the traditional sense he became an almost instant internet celebrity when his video was published on Newgrounds.com on December 6th, 2004. Gary has sense went on to published another two numa numa type videos in which he makes himself look like a total moron again. On purpose.
We continued our search for finding out exactly why people insist on doing insane stunts that they know are nearly impossible to complete successfully without taking a trip to the emergency room for a dislocated shoulder or even worse a dislocated head.
The answer was almost right in front of us the entire time: Boredom. When people have nothing else better to do than to sit around at home and think about what they could do with their free time, they begin to think irrationally. “I wonder if I can jump over my garage if I built a big enough ramp” are the types of thoughts that plague the minds of those who have too much time on their hands.
This seems like the logical explanation as to why there are so many videos of people trying to do stupid things on YouTube and Google Video. The vast majority of those who are in those videos are between the ages of 16 and their early to mid twenties. Between those ages young adults are still attending school while living with their parents. They most likely don’t have a job, nor do they have any other responsibilities other than attending school on a regular basis. Once Friday night hits, they are free and clear of such obligations and so the irrational thinking begins.
When we emailed one young adult who was shown trying to grind his way down a flight of stairs that was 25 feet in the air but instead found his head ground against the pavement why he attempted the stunt, he replied that him and his friends were sitting around and had nothing else better to do. He went on to say, “My friends turned around and said, ‘Hey Matt, I bet you can’t grind down that hand rail along those steps over there!’ This wasn’t something that I could let go being as young as I was at the time. They dared me to do it, and I wanted to show them that I was man enough to do it.”
The Opposite Sex:
Those who attempt bat shit insane stunts are predominately single males who wish they had a boyfriend, or in some rare cases, a girlfriend.
Young children do this type of thing all the time. They think that in order to get a girl’s attention they have to do something insane to win them over. However, they are no longer little kids, and they are no longer thinking about jumping off the monkey bars at school. They’re thinking about jumping buildings and other tall objects that don’t move when you hit them.
When they fail, they can only wish that the girl they were trying to impress will rush to their aide and give them mouth-to-mouth even though it’s not necessary. But most of the time what winds up happening is the girl of their dreams laughs, exclaims “what a loser” and walks away while the would-be stunt man is lying on the ground bleeding profusely from every orifice of his body and is about ready to go into shock because of the extreme blood loss.
We can thank the creators of YouTube (and Google Video) for giving the morons of the world a medium to share their blunders with the rest of the world. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to see and know about half the things that we do today. Well… some of us anyway. Not all of us spend our entire lives on YouTube and Google Video.